Aim: To improve students’ music technology skill base and confidence levels to help increase the uptake at both GCSE and A level Music.

Background: Many boys at LRGS lack confidence with creativity in music. They have excellent knowledge and understanding and many are very strong performers, but they often feel nervous and lost with composition projects.


  • Assessments of skills and confidence levels were done using baseline tests and questionnaires
  • Cubase and Ableton Live were introduced to improve the standard of composition
  • Online homework was implemented using ‘Focus on Sound’
  • Online exercise books were created using the app ‘Showbie’
  • An ‘Introduction to GCSE’ project was developed for Year 10 focusing on use of Sibelius to reinforce music theory
  • The department took on a new role as a Musical Futures Tech Champion School
  • The Year 7 Scheme of Work was successfully rewritten meaning students experience formal composition techniques earlier
  • Minimalism was moved from Year 8 to Year 7 to build on practical group work with ‘Connect It’ from the original BBC Ten Pieces set
  • The GCSE Scheme of Work was rewritten and this is in progress now on Showbie
  • A Composition Tracking Document was developed to target and support boys with potential and enthusiasm to study Music at GCSE and beyond
  • Two teachers are now leading the GCSE course instead of one and are able to bounce ideas off each other
  • During lockdown, students used Noteflight and other websites they could access from home
  • The department intend to further extend their use of technology, starting by investing in both ‘Focus on Sound’ and ‘Aurelia’
  • The school has acquired over 200 Ableton Live 10 Intro licences to distribute to students to use at home to reinforce work done in the classroom


  • An increased enthusiasm and confidence in composition
  • An increase in GCSE numbers by +60% over the 3 years
  • Approximately 65% of all A level students went on to further study in Music – a significant increase on previous years
  • Many more students take part in composition based extra-curricular activities
  • The department is full every lunchtime with boys in bands, practicing, having lessons and working on technology
  • Pupil questionnaires indicated an increased enjoyment of the subject in the classroom
  • By introducing the use of the Push units with Ableton software the boys have been encouraged to take risks


Overall, teachers feel more confident teaching composition and are more structured in the delivery of lessons. There is a more consistent approach to the measurement of progress.

Students are better able to describe what they want to do, how they want it to sound and a more analytical approach to composition has also given them better use of the vocabulary they need to communicate this to each other.

Contact | Emma Lamb